Tag:Dan Mullen
Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:44 pm

Urban's heir? Here are some dots to connect

After a spate of firings around college football, Miami last week was the sexiest program in the country with an opening at head coach. The Canes went for Jon Gruden, got rebuffed, then reportedly set their sights on Mississippi State's Dan Mullen.

That was late last week.

Florida's Urban Meyer started to think about resigning, talking it over with friends and family. One of his closest friends is Dan Mullen. Surely they talked about Meyer's future.

That was late last week.

Miami, which rushed headlong into a courtship with Gruden, hasn't issued a peep about its search since late last week. Not a word. Why? The guess here is this: Miami approached Mullen, who told Miami he's waiting on Florida. Surely he wouldn't put off Miami, still the second-sexiest opening out there, unless he had a pretty good idea of his chances at the Florida job.

That's my theory, and I like it. What I don't like, honestly, is the idea that Dan Mullen is the best possible hire for Florida. Or for Miami. What has he proved at Mississippi State in two years? He has been good, yes. Has he been good enough to deserve one of the plum jobs in all of college football?


I'm friends with one of Mullen's closest business associates. I mean, close . And this guy, this friend of mine, insists Mullen is a rising star. I trust this friend, so I'm not here to discount the possibility that Mullen is ready for a job as great as the one at Florida, or the (lesser) one at Miami.

But with just two years as a head coach, Mullen strikes me as a Plan B hire. If he's the first (and only) guy Florida goes after, that's weak. That's like going from Mike Shanahan and Bob Stoops to ... Ron Zook -- which is what Jeremy Foley did almost a decade ago.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 3, 2010 12:42 pm

An ode to Dan Mullen

The NCAA's unusual announcement about Cam Newton -- someone cheated, but it wasn't Newton -- makes me think kindly not only of the NCAA, but also of Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.

Mississippi State triggered this saga in January by reporting to the SEC that someone claiming to represent Newton's father was offering the player to the Bulldogs for $180,000. That's what someone at Mississippi State did, possibly Mullen himself, but that's not why I'm thinking kindly of him. Snitching on Kenny Rogers was the right thing to do, but I'm not moved to write happy thoughts about Dan Mullen because he (or someone at his direction) did that.

More impressive is what Mullen didn't do. Because here's what he could have done: He could have said yes to Kenny Rogers.

Mullen could have given in to his ambition, to his cynicism. He could have told himself, "Screw it, everyone else is doing it. This is my shot -- I'm going for it." Mullen could have found a way to justify it as he helped himself to Cam Newton. All he had to do was pay up, or find a booster who'd pay up. Those types aren't hard to find. Boosters willing to do the coach a favor and spend a few bucks on a player? They're everywhere.

Mullen didn't do it. Even though he was one shaky year into his tenure at Mississippi State, after going 5-7 in 2009. Needing positive growth in 2010, Mullen turned down Kenny Rogers. He lost his shot at Cam Newton. Nobody knew Newton would emerge this season as college football's most dominant player since Vince Young, but people knew Newton was special, and few knew it more certainly than Mullen -- who was on the staff at Florida when Newton, as a true freshman, was Tim Tebow's back-up.

Mullen didn't do it, and good for him. That's my conclusion after riding the ups and downs of this story, including a period where I was down on Mullen for reasons that simply don't matter. My initial thoughts, as they pertained to Mullen, were wrong. I'm not perfect, and if an acknowledgement of my own fallibility rubs you the wrong way, go read someone else. Want a writer who never admits he's wrong? I can point you in a few directions.

Category: NCAAF
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